The Advice That Changed How I Approach Every Job Interview

It helped me ditch the canned responses for good

Remy Franklin
Forge
Published in
4 min readNov 7, 2019

--

Photo: shapecharge/Getty Images

TThere’s nothing quite like being broke to put the pressure on you to nail an interview. I had just moved to California and had less than $500 in the bank — about half a month’s rent. My fledgling life-coaching business was beginning to take off, but income from my two clients definitely wasn’t enough to cover my bills. So I found myself looking for part-time jobs in a new city with few connections.

Eventually, I came across an opportunity to teach a first-year seminar at a university campus. I had never taught college students before, but I had my master’s degree and met the qualifications on paper. The position was everything I was looking for: It started immediately, was part-time, and paid well. As a bonus, it would be fun and interesting work.

An hour before I was set to interview with the dean, I got a call from my mentor coach, Jeremy. As I was talking about the opportunity, he could hear that I was nervous. I really wanted this job.

Jeremy then asked me a question that completely shifted my mindset: “What is the contribution you want to make in this position?”

I paused and let out a deep breath. I told him that I know how formative the first year of college can be, and that this seminar is all about developing critical thinking and personal skills for success in an academic environment. I said I wanted to help students learn those skills in a safe, supportive environment so they can be successful and take advantage of the same opportunities that education gave me. It was sincere. “Perfect,” Jeremy said. “Focus on that, and anything you say will be right.”

Here’s what Jeremy knew: People respond to how we are more than what we say. In interviews, it’s normal to be hyperaware of the words coming out of your mouth. If you’re at all nervous, you’re going to have thoughts like, “Did I get the answer right?” “What should I say next?” “Am I doing well?” Your brain’s default is to worry about what could go wrong, but ironically, this distracts you from being present and engaged.

You may have experienced this when speaking publicly. I have a teacher friend who describes her worst days in front of…

--

--

Remy Franklin
Forge
Writer for

Life coach, career design professor, professional rock climber. www.RemyFranklin.com